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Instant Peay Play: APSU Coach Kirby Cannon stays busy in football off-season as signing day nears


Legends Bank, Clarksville TNClarksville, TN – Taking over the Austin Peay State University football program last year, just days before the start of spring practice, head coach Kirby Cannon had to hit the ground running.

Just because he’s settled into the position now doesn’t mean he’s slowed down any.

APSU Football Coach Kirby Cannon.

APSU Football Coach Kirby Cannon.

“We went into the off season in two phases,” Cannon said. “One with the players that we currently have, getting them back in the weight room and getting them on a good, sound off-season weight-lifting program was important. I know from just checking in that they’ve done a good job with that.

“Then where’s recruiting — and that’s a 12-month a year endeavor — and we’re in the visit phase right now. We’re going to have three mid-year guys enroll (this spring) then we’re going to concentrate on the next three weekends on bring in as many top prospects as we can on campus and I think we’ll do very well.”

The next three weeks are time critical for Cannon and the football programs recruiting, as recruits make their visits to campus, in hopes of signing a large incoming group of players in his first recruiting effort.

“I think the first thing you look at is the number of visits (you have scheduled),” Cannon said. “Do you have enough kids set for visits to say you’re going to get the numbers that you need for the recruiting class? We are blessed with a great deal of scholarship money this year, so we’re looking at a large class.

“They will be primarily high school kids, with just a sprinkling of transfers and junior college guys involved with that. It’s been so far so good, because we’ve not had a kid that has come to campus tell us no they weren’t coming. I think that’s a good indication of the quality of interest of the kids that we’re been bring in and that is it a good match with Austin Peay.”

And although recruiting is at the top if his list right now, Cannon will also be looking in the very near future to fill a couple of coaching vacancies.

“I’m kind of a single-minded guy and we’re not really going to have any problems with the recruiting aspects of it because we were prepared to lose some people and by the time they had decided to leave we have already done most of our initial screening in the spring. So when coach (Granville) Eastman and coach (Pat) Donohoe both felt like they had better opportunities at other schools we wished them well.

“As for the hiring and replacement of those coaches, I will need time to make sure I do a thorough job with that (the hiring) and not just hire the first guy I see. So we’ll put off the replacement of those assistant coaching slots until around March 1st.”

So with national signing day right around the corner and two coaching slots to fill, it may not be the frantic pace of his first few weeks at Austin Peay for coach Cannon, but he’s still on the go and working hard to bring the football program to the forefront of the Ohio Valley Conference.

“Taking over the program just two or three days before spring ball we wanted to make sure we got some things done, not only in that spring period, but in the season as well,” Cannon said. “We built some foundations of effort, good character and academic quality, but it’s certainly better to be able to recruit in a way you’re used to.

“This will be my first class, so again very exciting, but also we’re doing a good job of matching what we have and the opportunities that we represent to players and we’re going to have a very good recruiting class.”

About Chris Austin




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